We both woke up around three thirty this morning because we were freezing. The power was out. Since I knew we weren't having a storm or hurricane winds, I just snuggled up, confident it would be on shortly, which is the usual case in our area. We stayed cocooned until the sun was well up, but still no power. I dare say most folks would just jump in their clothes and head to the nearest pancake house, or whatever, but once you've had fresh chicken eggs, it's insulting to have those Walmart eggs Miss Bugg detests so. So, what to do-
I felt all pioneerish and it was dee-wish- is.
By about 9:30 though, my thoughts were wandering to my two frigs, full of leftovers, when everything flickered and came to life.
The Handy Man and I headed out on our favorite date. Please do not laugh. I love Family Dollar and Dollar General Stores. I love how all that stuff is in this wee store, where you can park right by the door and be in and out in a flash and a new one opened on the way to the Library- be still my heart. So our hot date consisted of dropping items at Salvation Army (check), dropping my favorite red coats at the dry cleaners ( I have like 7 red coats, but I digress) (check), the Family Dollar where important things like duct tape and peppermint sticks to go in Bugg's oranges were found, and lastly to the library, with a slight homeward bound detour through McD's for a diet coke. Then home for leftovers, an afternoon of reading and a nap. A wonderful day of rest.
Congrats to Shari, Kc and Wonderful Eyes who will be recipients of Hallmark recordable cards.
Kc and Shari, e-mail me your address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I just say, I love me some 4 day weekends.
Much to be thankful for today. For a daughter helping in the early preparations. For a grandboy to entertain me whilst I worked. For a Handy Man being Handy.
For the opportunity to say there was a holiday this year with the Cpt. that we didn't miss.
That my mama and Aunt Lois were able to be here.
And for proof to Auntie SuZQ that Aunt Lois' beautiful shirt left in as pristine shape as it came in.
Loved the family and friends and poopies to smooch and squeeze. A soft sad place for those who weren't here.
Thank you Lord for all blessings, great and small.
Ahh, so grateful that there is no school today. It seems the older I get the longer it takes to pull off Thanksgiving. The big bird went in the oven at 6:30. There is a bit smaller one for the turkey fryer tomorrow.
The Captain was able to come to for awhile Monday morning and visit each classroom at our little school. You would have thought Elvis entered the building. I have always tried to involve lots of real experiences and real people in my students lives. Still, I'm surprised at the difference in getting ideas when the person sharing the ideas is standing right in front of them. No comparison to a text lesson. I was very thankful he made time for that.
Well, the kitchen is calling. Speaking of the kitchen, Auntie G-Lou stitched up some fun aprons for my little corkers cookers.
Oooh, a surprise from Auntie G-Lou.
Time for some experimenting with flour, rice and food coloring.
Last night was our big school fund raising night out. I was surprised when I got a call from Phil.
The Captain was at the airport and Ceece, Bean and Bugg were on their way to get him. When he left he told us not to plan on seeing him for a year. We knew he'd get a leave a some point, but didn't know if he'd be able to get back home. We never said one word to the kids for fear of it not happening.
He wasn't allowed to tell his whereabouts until he was stateside. He said, still at the first of the week, he wasn't sure it was going to happen. After four days and seven stops, he made it, praise the Lord!!!
At the school's big event are, of course, the teachers I work with and many of my student's parents. Between our service project and Veteran's Day they are all very aware of him, so there were lots of happy tears and squeals and the question, "Why are still here?" "You are going aren't you?"
Never having experienced this before, I wasn't sure how I'd feel, or what I'd do. Now I know. I think there has been a place inside of me holding it's breath for seven months and while it felt wonderful to take a deep cleansing breath, I also could have crawled into some dark spot and sobbed like a baby.
It's funny, they never grow so old that you think of them as anything but your child, still, he is grown up with a wife and children. Honestly, I was so completely content knowing they had a hold of him, that it was quite enough.
Ceece told them they were going to pick up her BFF from Florida. She then said something happened and she didn't make her flight or whatever. She told them to keep watching, maybe they'd know someone who got the plane.
Umm, wait I do know that soldier.
These pictures are priceless. They've missed that daddy so.
I know my kid though, and I suspected when I'd hear from him. Yep, first thing this morning. Would I make him a good egg? My pleasure. An egg? Six eggs, over easy. He got to lay his backpack down after seven months and pick up a six year old, who seems to have no plans of turning him loose anytime soon.
I'm somewhat of an old hippie, earth loving, Jesus Freak kind of girl. I love gift giving and especially if it's something I created myself. I hate all this plastic, ever consuming, fast food, Facebook relationship kind of world we've created.
Well, mostly anyway. I love me some Ziploc bags, Tupperware. a Diet Coke from Mickey D's and Hallmark.
I'm sorry, but those movies do exactly what they are supposed to do, pull my heart out through my tear ducts. My children and theirs get a visit from the Hallmark ornament elf, with the appropriate date and subject, in their stocking each Christmas. Don't even get me started on those talking, singing characters that I feel the gramerlings just can't live without.
Umm, please don't get the Handy Man started on those characters either. Just saying.
Oh yeah, and another memory.
That little Daniel I told you about, the toddler loved him some basketball. I didn't even know a two year old would get that, but his mama loved basketball and so did he. So, we've passed the soup incident and the friendship is growing and what to do about this first Christmas. I looked and thought, I looked some more and fretted, then thought some more- nothing. Well, the big day is nearly here and I am feeling desperate. I dash into the Hallmark store and on the first tree on the left, hanging right at eye level is an ornament. Yeah, right, it's Christmas, what else would be there, but this wasn't just any ornament, but an angel, a boy angel with blue eyes, blonde hair, and I promise you this big, fat, basketball tucked under his arm. Be still my heart. I bonded with the Hallmark store that day.
Still, I was surprised to get an e-mail from them offering me cards to keep and share via my blog. Fun.
A new big thing this year is a card that counts down the days and the one where the kids can record their list to send to Santa. Oh, how sweet a keepsake for the mamas and the papas, those tiny voices telling Santa Claus their wishes. I will give that one away. I still remember the Captain calling Santa
" Kin Saw." Ahhhh.
This countdown card, now there's a novel idea.
Me, being totally smitten with my first two grandboys, not having any idea if there would be more in the future, wanted to do every little thing that I could manage to celebrate life with them. Soooooooo, I bought two of those big felt Advent Calendars with the pockets to count the days, and filled each little pocket with a Christmas candy, and wrote a personal message on the back. So sweet! I took them back and refilled them the next year. See, already a tradition. Then Christmas number three and the search for two more when my first precious girls came along. How many pieces of candy? Just a hundred. And on we go. This year I'm up to ten blessings and two hundred and fifty pieces of Christmas candy. What in the world was I thinking?
Buy the card!
So, I've never done a giveaway. Leave a comment, I'll print them and let one of the wee folk pick the winner. Then, I'll send it to you!
I set the one I'm keeping for my littles and is was easy as could be. I was a bit alarmed to see there are only 40 days to Christmas. Deep breath.
Which card do you wish, the recordable list, or the countdown?
Veteran's Day fell on Sunday this year, and since my kiddos help prepare the breakfast the day before, we held our celebration today.
I've done this eight years now. It's a bit different feel when one my own is "over there." Ceece has a cardboard stand-up of the Captain and so "Flatam" was in attendance. I took the kids picture with him for their portfolios. Today when I got home, there was a little package with a book and money from him to share with my students. They will be thrilled.
The kids love serving the men and women. One man, a WWII veteran has attended every year, and every year he weeps through the entire program.
One of the students is new and so it was a first for his grandma, who brought his great grandpa. They were so sweet and went on and on about how much they enjoyed it and that it was the first event like it they'd ever been invited to.
Our custodian was in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart. Folded underneath it is a letter from his Mama he's kept all these years. Be still my heart.
A little kindergartner, Missy Bugg, missing her daddy this year, but writing and spelling like a champ.
I'm guessing it will take a few days for this melancholy feeling to subside. My thoughts are a little gloomy, which stands in stark contrast to the this amazingly warm and sunshiny autumn day. Maybe sharing these thoughts doing somersaults in my head will be therapeutic.
This story goes way back, almost thirty years. A girl I knew lost her precious two year old one summer, after a routine medical procedure. I did all the things, you know, flowers, food, visitation. She was quite a shy, introverted kind of person, so mostly I saw her at church. One night, it had to have been this time of year, because I remember it being dark outside, I was putting away supper, in a hurry to get to the library. This had been a gourmet meal, plain ol' potato soup, when it crossed my mind (God nudge), to drop it off to her, as her house was on my way to the library. I had a second thought about how silly it would be to show up on someone's porch after dark, and after supper with a tupperware bowl of potato soup of all things- dumb idea, forget it. Then I had another nudge, "Take the soup." So off I trotted, library books and soup in tow. I wondered what in the world I'd even say. I knocked, she answered and I just mumbled something about wondering if she'd like some soup with the weather turning cold, and that she'd been on my mind. She took the soup, smiled and thanked me, closed the door and I was off, not before thinking again that it probably was a really dumb idea, and she was even now looking at that container and kind of shaking her head. What I had no way of knowing was that bowl of soup opened the door to a long and precious friendship.
Let's move ahead to the following summer, when I knew the anniversary of her little Daniel was coming. I did not know what to say, or what to do, so offered to do anything at all to help her through the day. As I recall, we ended up taking toys to give to the fire station for their toy drive in Daniel's memory, then a balloon to the cemetery.
Later, I found out that the day of the soup had been a particularly awful one for her, and that a homely gift made all the difference to someone drowning in sorrow. Thank God for those nudges. I was surprised when she told me that Daniel's first anniversary felt as horrific to her as the actual event. I had no idea, assuming that time had done some healing work in twelve months. She shared with me that not a single other person, family or otherwise, in her life had remembered and acknowledged the day. I
remember her asking me if I would always remember with her. Have mercy, the heartbreak of those words. And I did- his anniversary, birthday and Christmas, for a long time. Many years later, my heart rejoiced when she said that her heart had healed and it wasn't necessary anymore.
So, all that to say, when someone who means the world to you loses someone who means the world to them, mark it on your calendar, then put a reminder date a week ahead. Tell the person you know the day is coming and ask what you might do. Don't be surprised if they have no idea. How awesome if you can help them out with that. Maybe they are too sad to even think about it. I have offered to spend the day shopping for a gift to give in their loved one's memory, picking out and planting a tree,with them, creating a bit of a memorial garden spot, bringing supplies to scrapbook a memory, hanging out wherever the person chooses (be prepared for it to be the cemetery), well you get the idea. Of course, the person might turn you down. That's okay, you made an effort that won't go unnoticed.
I don't know if there is a worst thing about losing someone you love. The reality of there not being one more minute with her/him this side of heaven tops my list, but fearing she/he will be forgotten comes roaring into second place. Never underestimate the value of you remembering, and being willing to give your time. JUST DO IT!
As for me, I have a new memory to add to November 8. The memory of watching my baby brother make fairy dolls with Missy Bugg and I, along with his little Swee-tee. and this picture of his smile, along with his Vanessa Flytrapis Fairy, cheers me greatly. Indeed, makes me chuckle.
It is a beautiful day and I hope you find a chuckle of your own somewhere.
Wow, a year already.
I will say, though I'm feeling it keenly at the moment, the missing has diminished, well, had diminished. Not so much so that I can fold it up and put it away in my pocket, but not pushing me down, to the extent that it feels like slogging through the muck that is sucking on my shoes.
In a way, I've looked forward to today, until last week anyhow, as all the grieving literature says how much better things are after a year. For me, I turned a corner after her August birthday, thank the Lord!
Till that point it had been a way long year. It seems all these memories pushing and shoving to surface since Halloween, have taken me a step back.
How do you mark a year? I don't know. It feels like I should do something. Does going out at sixish in the dark, with a lantern that was likely shining through my night shirt, creating what I'm sure was a ghostly (um, ghastly) image, enough to terrify any neighbor, to shoot this rose count?
I couldn't believe it came back, in November, one single rose again, on a dormant rose bush. I don't know why, but it makes me smile and cry.
Well, I'm expected in the classroom, so let's get this day done. I've taken off the afternoon to spend some time with my mom, then Playdate, where we'll stick a candle in our Overnight French Toast and send a Happy Heavenly Birthday tune skyward.
Well, I found my camera, but lost October somewhere along the way. How in the world could it be November already? I can't figure how that happened.
Ahh, my busiest time of year besides May. First it is conferences, then the Veteran's Day program, then Thanksgiving, next up is the Gingerbread House Party, followed by the Christmas Musical, oh yeah, then Christmas. Wow.
Today we celebrated Antebellie's birthday with a tea in celebration of her sixth birthday.
First, a game of "Fancy," better known as Bingo.
Not so easy when you're gloved.
Time to pour the tea.
Then careful stirring, while being sure you aren't missing anything going on with the ladies on the other side of the table.
Time for cake.
The music box dancer pose.
The rock concert pose. One can only sit quietly stirring tea for so long.